a/n: it's not my fault. someone requested this
The air raid sirens were wailing, and April was barking orders through the comm links – pulling her people out but refusing to evacuate herself, Mikey was unaccounted for and she would not leave without him, mission be damned – and the last blast a block away had done enough structural damage to the apartment building that served as an unofficial base of operations that it was a small miracle the place hadn't more than half-collapsed already. It moaned ominously as Raph climbed through a broken window on the fourth floor, but if it was going to come down on him, let it.
He was already living without Donatello, without Casey. Without father, and in a different way, without Leo, too. He didn't know what a world without Mikey, on top of that, could be worth.
The sound of raised voices drew him at a run down the shuddering hall. Doors were blown out and walls were crumpled like paper. He found his brother in Woody's apartment, scrambling uselessly with one hand at a toppled support beam that pinned his best friend to the floor.
There was so much blood, too much, and Mikey found Raph through the shifting, dusty gloom with hysterical blue eyes.
"Oh, thank god," he half-sobbed, and reached out with that same wet, sticky hand that was leaving three-fingered smears along the side of the fallen beam. "Raphie,help me, I can't lift it."
"Three minutes, Raph, you have to get out of there now," April said, and Raph found himself kneeling next to his brother, searching quickly for a solid grip on the support beam.
Human fingers met his, and he followed them up an arm, up to Woody's face. Bright amber eyes were dark and muddy, and Woody shook his head. Red was leaking from the corner of his mouth, tracing a sick line down the curve of his cheek. And Raph knew what he was going to say.
" – cut into my stomach," he explained in a breathy voice, almost unfamiliar, except for the calm, realistic way he shaped his words. "Woulda bled out already, 'f it wasn't keepin' pressure on the spot."
He was right.
"I'm sorry," Raph managed, sounding clumsy to his own ears. This guy got swept up in their lives and now he was dying, twenty-nine years old. Raph can't think of Casey, can't think of Casey, but it was the same thing, and he hated the Shredder, and he hated the war, and he hated himself.
"S'okay," Woody replied, impossibly. The sirens were louder, April was yelling over the radio, Raph waited with Woody's hand on his wrist. "But Mike's arm is – bad. It was caught under here, and he just – ripped it out. To help me. You gotta get him outta here, Raph. He needs a doctor."
And there came the reality Raph hadn't wanted to look in the face. Woody wasn't leaking as badly as he should've been – largely thanks to the pressure the beam was putting on the wound it had caused, like he said. So the source of the quickly-cooling puddle they were all sitting in had to be Raph's only remaining little brother. It looked like Mikey had yanked the curtains down, ripped them into half-assed, barely serviceable bandages, a dusty yellow turned rusty and ugly, blood dripping off his green fingers and smearing under his knees.
Raph's heart twisted sickly.
"Get him out of here," Woody said again, but his dim eyes flickered, and then he was looking at Mikey the way he always looked at him. Warm and pleasant and impossibly fond, tracing the curves and edges of Mikey's face like he was something rare and wonderful.
Oh, Raph realized, at probably the same time they both did, oh no.
"What," Mikey said, catching up. Blood loss, shock, his body was shutting down, but he was putting together what they were saying now, and a lifetime of loving others overrode the rest of his failing system. He shuffled closer, cradling Woody's head in his lap, brushing the sticky blond hair out of his face with trembling fingers. "No. No, no. I'm not leaving you here. We're gonna lift this thing off of you, and we're gonna get you some help," he continued thickly, despite knowing better. "It's gonna be – "
"Mikester – "
"I'll stay, then," he whispered. "I'll stay here with you."
"One minute! What the hell are you doing? Fuck it, I'm coming in after you – "
"No," Raph said, his voice hoarse, "god, no. I'm – we're coming out, we're coming."
"See ya, Mike," Woody said softly.
Mikey wouldn't go without a fight, of course he wouldn't. But on that day, Raph was stronger. He wrenched Mikey away, and half-carried him out. They made it to where April was waiting, only barely, and there was no time to ask why just the two of them were piling into the Jeep – the answer was pretty damn clear. April didn't say a word, stomping on the gas and peeling after their already-departed caravan of comrades, but her face was dark with rage and empathy and grief.
Mikey was the only one who looked back. Raph was picking thread out of his brother's mutilated arm from those shitty makeshift bandages, trying to staunch the heavy bleeding, and Mikey traced the curls of black smoke through the sunny sky behind them with awful, hollow eyes. He watched the whole block go up in ash and fire, taking a thousand good memories along with it.
"See ya," he said quietly, as his home burned.
Two weeks later, Raph mentioned Woody's name and Mikey threw a knife at his head. Raph could take a hint.
They didn't talk about him anymore.